27 April 2011 - Security Council - Western Sahara - Extending the mandate of MINURSO - Explanation of vote - Statement By Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
My delegation welcomes the Security Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 1979 (2011), which highlights the importance attached by the international community to settling the conflict in Western Sahara.
The resolution sends three important messages.
First, it recalls the priority nature of the political process. We welcome the acceleration of unofficial talks under the auspices of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General, and hope that official negotiations will quickly resume. We support the initiatives taken by Mr. Ross along these lines, but he will be able to do nothing without the commitment of all parties, which should participate in the negotiations, as recalled by the resolution we have just adopted. The parties should show a sense of realism and a spirit of compromise, and abstain from any provocation.
The settlement of this question is a necessity not only for the people of Western Sahara, but also for the stability, security and integration of the Maghreb region. Nothing should therefore distract us from this objective. In this regard, Morocco has presented a serious and credible autonomy plan that is a good basis for negotiation.
The second message is that the resolution sends a clear message of support for the reforms undertaken by Morocco, especially with respect to human rights. The King of Morocco, in his historic 9 March speech, launched a reform movement that the Council wishes to support. In this context, we are pleased that Morocco has decided not only to establish national human rights mechanisms, but also to ensure access to the 33 special procedures of the Human Rights Council. The Security Council has welcomed and encouraged these new substantial measures, which will benefit the population of Western Sahara in particular.
But the resolution also recalls that the situation of the Sahrawi population in the Tindouf camps should not be forgotten.
The third message is that the resolution highlights the considerable progress being made in the area of confidence-building measures. The agreement of the parties and the neighbouring States to meet regularly with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to reassess the entire confidence-building programme is important.
Last week, the dispatch of a team to study the construction of a road that would facilitate family visits and the organization of a seminar in Portugal between Sahrawis in Western Sahara and in the camps are positive developments. Every effort must be made to alleviate the day-to-day difficulties of the Sahrawi population. We salute the role played by the UNHCR in this regard. We support any additional measures taken on the political and humanitarian levels, with the agreement of the parties, to promote mutual trust.